Monday, August 30, 2021

What is Yoga

Slowing down the breath ,

Increasing exhalation:inhation to 2:1 when not exerting yourself,

Letting go of thoughts, being a witness to your thoughts, silencing that voice in the head,

Relaxing, letting go, un-tensing all muscles,

All of this is Yoga, and all of this is a pre-requisite to Yoga.
Keeping the mind in a non agitated state, by giving up negative attitudes like envy, lust and greed, and cultivating positive attitudes like compassion, love, and forgiveness is Yoga. This is not something you can ever be perfect in, it should rather be seen as the direction in which one should take the mind. 

The above is not something you just "do" and forget about, it is something you do to integrate into your life, that is Yoga.

Putting the body in certain  positions, asanas, that increase the flow of Prana, vital energy, in a constant state of relaxation ( except the specific muscles being tensed in the pose) , is  Hatha Yoga, which people refer to as Yoga nowadays.

People divorce  the practice of asana from the mind and the beareth,  and don't bother  about the pre-requisites. In that case, it merely becomes another form of physical exercise , not without benefit, but it will not enable the practitioner to progress further.

Asana is merely the third step in the eight step Ashtanga Yoga outlined by Patanjali. Its side effect is good health and vitality but that is not the goal. 

 Any person of any age can do Yoga. 

The goal of Yoga is much loftier than mere attainment of bodily health, which is an almost guaranteed outcome of regular asana practice.  The goal of Yoga is to attain union of the individual consciousness with the cosmic consciousness, and asanas are  practised to make the body ready for more advanced practices.

Once the body has  been rendered free of ailments, and has been made flexible and pliant with asana practise, is when one goes to the next step, Pranayama. In case one jumps into advanced  Pranayama practice without laying the foundations, it may result in more harm than good. Basic breathing exercises are fine, but advanced practices are ruled out. Most of us do not even know how to breathe, and we talk of Pranayama, it is necessary for most people nowadays to attend classes to learn how to breathe.

Where the breath goes, energy follows. The practice of Pranayama is actually the practice of "yama, control" of the "prana, energy" , which is the vital energy that flows through our nadis, invisible channels or pathways that carry energy through the body.

That takes care of the Annamaya Kosha and the Pranamaya Kosha, the Gross Body sheath and the next higher sheath of the Energy Body. 

Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, are the first four steps of the eight steps of Patanjali, and it is Bahiranga Yoga, the outwardly focused Yoga 

Then starts Antaranga Yoga, Internally focused Yoga, the process of bringing the mind under control. Meditation is not truly possible unless one puts the gross body and energy body in a state to be ready for it. Meditation is also not possible unless one learns to be truly, truly, relaxed. 

For a person who is truly relaxed, ideas and inspiration strike the mind effortlessly, said Cicero, the ancient Roman philosopher. Relaxation is essential for true well being.

Antaranga Yoga has four steps, starting with Pratyahara, withdrawal of the mind from sense objects. 

Then follows Dharana, concentration , where the mind is steadily focused on one single thought, to the exclusion of all else, just like oil poured from one  jug to another, flows in a continuous stream. It is almost impossible for the mind to be brought under such control even for a few minutes, and the meditation practices are all aimed at focusing the mind on a single thought.

From "single thought" to thoughtlessness or meditation, or silence,  is a process that automatically has to happen, just like sleep automatically happens, you can never "do" sleep. Dhyan is the seventh step of Patanjali's eight steps.

Then comes Samadhi , union with the Supreme, a state which is difficult to reach. A few in every age, the Sages, manage to reach such a state. Patanjali even goes on to describe different types of Samadhi!

The above is the path of Raja Yoga. The Gita mentions other Yogas as well, which can serve equally well for attaining the same state of Union. They are Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Jnana Yoga. Depending on individual temperament, it is for us to choose which path to take.

The paths are not mutually exclusive. Working  without worrying about the results as in Karma yoga, having an attitude of Bhakti as in Bhakti Yoga, and sifting the real from the unreal as in Jnana Yoga, are all necessary things to do, to a greater or lesser degree.

As the Masters have stated,  the aim is the Mountaintop,  and many paths lead to the same place. Once you reach the top it does not matter which path you took. 

Reaching the top of the Mountain is Yoga, and  travelling up any of the paths is also Yoga. Union of the body, mind and spirit is Yoga.


Show me what or who you love,
And I know your true nature,
What your life revolves around,
Is what you truly experience!

The beloved casts a shadow,
That lights up all things around,
Everything takes on a glow,
An intensity newfound!

What we experience as life,
Is what we turn the mind towards,
Where the mind is turned defines,
Each by each, our entire life!

Passion colours all we see,
Vividly in passion's hue,
Life is not the same again,
Passion always extracts its due!

A new kind of brain teaser

Adnan, Benjamin and Sameer ( let's call them A,B, and C for short) want to decide which covid vaccine to take. You need to help them to decide.

A has already had covid, and has now tested negative. B has not had covid and has now tested negative. C has not taken a test but has taken the first dose of Covaxin.

They all want to study abroad, in Europe.  A is going to country A which has approved Covishield but not Covaxin, B to Country B which has approved no Indian vaccine, and C to Country C which, according to sources in the Indian Foreign Office, is very likely to approve both, very soon, since they are under threat of all their citizens who are currently in India being sent to Tihar Jail for fourteen days compulsory quarantine, under foreign minister Jaishankar's arm-twisting exercise  India Intimidating Initiative (III for short).

Meanwhile Diksha ( let's call her D) who is A's cousin and  studying medicine at CDEF ( College of Doctors Evengelizing Fear ) and is a member of VV,  Vaccine Vigilantes, has some statistics on vaccines. Covishield is 75 percent effective after 1 dose, 90 percent effective  after 2 doses. Covaxin is 70 and 83 respectively. Taking covishield after taking covaxin , two doses of both, is 97 percent effective, but given shortage of vaccines right now, one may have to wait for six months before that is allowed. Taking annual booster shots of all of them is next on the cards, as per information she has collected from reliable sources. But, Country A has only Pfizer vaccine available, Country B has Pfizer and Moderna, and Country C has only the Chinese vaccine. The students may have to come to India to take their booster shots actually, if they want Covaxin or Covishield.

Meanwhile Pfizer has been given approval for manufacturing  in India, and will take six months to hit the shelves. A is all in favor of Pfizer, B is confused, and C will never touch it since it uses the new unproven mRNA technology which he fears may play havoc with the DNA in his cells.

All three of them have the option of deferring their admissions by one year. 

Meanwhile, the respective colleges where A , B and C are studying have mandated vaccines, whichever available version is fine, or else they cannot go to campus. Not going to campus will result in their project being declared invalid by the foreign universities, so it is essential for them to go to campus to retain their admission.

A is gung ho about the vaccine since all the people in his family have taken it and no one has died, B is sceptical since his uncle who was hale and hearty till then, died of cardiac arrest  exactly three days after taking the vaccine, and C is afraid of injections.

So, you need to decide for A, B, and C, keeping all factors in mind:

1. Should they take admission this year or defer to next year?

2. What should their vaccine strategy be - which vaccine/s , what frequency, and strategy for booster shots

Please send in your answers by evening today.

The Bogeyman

The mere threat of a Bogeyman,
Is 'nough to keep the kids in line,
Makes sure he comes in their nightmares,
And they dream of him noon and night!

Those who have seen him all attest,
He's not so fierce as imagined,
What he can do at his  worst,
Is nowhere close to their  nightmares!

The Bogeyman is merely a ploy,
To control the kids, keep them in line,
That of the  uncertain  unknown,
Of a fearsome drummed up renown!

Won't  let the kids play in the dark,
Fills their minds with grim forebodings,
Won't  let them meet, or go walkabout,
Fills them with fears of threat impending!

Each age and time has its Bogeyman,
From past to now, from child to man,
They make it far easier to rule,
Over those who are running  scared!

The wheels of Time

News item today: Zomato is readying for its IPO, at a valuation that exceeds that of all the listed hotel companies taken together!

Beauty lies solely  in the eye,
Of the stricken beholders,
Lining up, drooling, to buy,
Inflated pieces of paper!

It has already changed hands,
At dubious values in the past,
Getting pumped up each time,
To values, till then, unheard of!

The company excels at burning,
Whatever the investors put,
Seeing the smoke from the chimney,
Makes more of them come hurrying!

Not an asset to its name,
A few youngsters in a garage,
Have soon managed to overtake,
Those who've been around for years!

Each one aims to dominate,
The world as viewed from their prism,
Doing whatever it takes,
To spend their money to success!

What happened to values like thrift,
And patient accumulation?
How long before you deserve it,
Does fortune visit you out of turn?

What happened to values of prudence,
And not throwing money away,
These VC's scatter it in the wind,
Hoping that some of it will land!

What happens to all that I can see,
Brick and mortar  built on sand,
That now shifts beneath their feet,
Will it all come crashing down?

A new world order will rise,
From the rubble of the old,
The rulers of today will die,
And upstarts will storm the hold!

Their turn in turn will come in time,
To go under the wheel of fortune,
Which will crush them as it grinds,
Its way relentlessly on!

The gist of Personal Finance

The world of personal finance is made needlessly complex by the plethora of undifferentiated products that are available, the hordes of snake oil salesmen calling themselves money managers peddling toxic products to gullible customers, and clueless investors who are gullible prey for the sharks.

Are there a few simple rules that can help guide investors in such a situation? Especially the minnows, the newbies who are not so financially literate?

Based on my years of learning and teaching  the subject, if I were to attempt such a list, this is what it would be.

1. Spend less than what you earn. For doing this you must: 

Keep aside your savings first every month, before you start spending

Live in a locality that is equivalent to your earning or less - peer pressure can make you do dumb things

Invest what you have kept aside and stay invested for the long term.

2. Have only one goal, multiple goals are confusing. That goal is: being in a position to retire. 

How much do you need for that?

Let us say your current monthly expenses are x,

You need 400 times your current monthly expenses (400x)  to maintain your current lifestyle and to  take care of inflation.

3. Invest in Gold, Real Estate, Stocks or Fixed Income 

Don't touch commodities, derivatives, currencies, futures and options, and don't trade on margins. On no account, touch cryptocurrencies.

4. Buy an affordable house , don't overreach on this one. Your house is not considered part of your wealth and thus is not part of the 400x.

5. Borrow only to buy a house, or to save your life.

6. Do not ever, ever, pay interest on your credit cards

7. Take term insurance for around 100x to 150x , expiring at your age of 65. 

Do not ever, ever, take any other form of insurance.

8. For tax saving invest only in PF, PPF, ELSS, or NPS, to the extent required. Ignore all other options

9. Invest your surplus every month as follows: 

10 to 15 percent in gold. This can be in Gold ETF's. 

The balance in equity mutual funds and debt mutual funds,  in any ratio between 30:70 and 70:30 as per your comfort. Always choose the growth option and not  the dividend option. 

Do not invest in bank FD's, they are tax inefficient.

Do not invest in direct company deposits, they are risky, tax inefficient, and cumbersome to keep track of.

11. When a good real estate investment comes along, liquidate your gold, equity and debt holdings, and take a small loan if needed.

12. Good real estate means land, neither in the center of the city, nor too far away, in a locality that is about to see development. Apartments are neither good, nor real estate. This advice does not apply to those from Mumbai since there is no land in Mumbai.

13.Four years before you plan to retire take a Family Floater health insurance policy for a coverage of about 5 lakhs per annum.

14. Marry into a rich family. It is not your fault if your parents are poor, but you can try to ensure that your prospective in-laws are not.

15. When you reach a wealth of 400x, you are in a position to retire.

Ensure your x does not go up too significantly in the meanwhile.

That kind of sums it up.

Now go and do something about Point No. 14 above


( Written  in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh) 

Mountains as far as the eye can see,
Range upon range unfolding,
Each one mighty in its Majesty,
But at once  part of the whole!

The clouds kiss their feet as they pass,
In obeisance to the mighty ones,
They stare down from their pinnacles white,
At the clouds in lofty disdain!

A few villages scattered across,
Clinging to the sides of the mountains,
A lonely road winds its way through,
Sign of hope in the isolation!

We watch the scene with outsiders' eyes,
Awed by the stark beauty of the place,
For the villager it's daily strife,
At once part of the scene, and against!

I doubt if he thinks its beautiful,
For he is part of the picture
That we see as part of the frame,
The words are merely our description!

Does beauty come into being,
Only when someone perceives it,
Or is it something that's always there,
Only beautiful till it's discovered?

Venture, Thy Capital!

Where do they find the funds,
To fund the new upstarts,
Each vying with the next,
To burn them as they come?

Where do they find the means,
To justify what they've done,
Each vying with the next,
To give more cash to burn?

How do they have the guts,
To throw good money after bad,
The more the company sinks,
They fund to dig deeper!

Where do they find others,
To jump in after them,
Into the bottomless pit,
Courting a gory death?

They do all this and more,
And then do the IPO,
A call to the lemmings,
To come jump off the cliff!

See the lemmings lining up,
For a piece of the action,
They all want to jump and die,
No one wants to miss out!

It's a weird case of FOMO,
How far, how deep, can you jump?
Those who don't  get the chance,
Envy those who jump and die!

The Elite

Shut the doors, shut the windows,
Draw the curtains, pull the blinds,
Keep the outside from coming in,
A self contained universe!

Use the phone and never meet,
Every human is suspect,
Keep them all at great length,
Walking germ carriers,  terrified!

Cover the nose, just don't breathe,
And wash the skin off your hands,
Scrub the air and scrub the seats,
For all things, delivery man!

See the world only through a screen,
Talk only to avatars,
Flesh and blood is full of germs,
Let's shift to the metaverse!

There is a world that's out there,
It moves on nicely without you,
Flesh and blood out on the street,
There's also sun, rain, and breeze!

Two worlds exist out there,
Will the twain ever meet?
The elite are in their lairs,
The others are on the street!


Most prisons are of the mind,
By its power we are confined,
No need for big gates and high walls,
Imagination will suffice!

To take away a man's freedom,
You need to plant some fear in it,
He will panic, shut himself in,
And come and hand you the keys!

In scale of primal emotions,
Fear overcomes greed by far,
The best jailers are only those,
Who play on emotions, and yours! 

A fearful populace is one,
That is docile and tractable,
There are many dictatorships,
The best are not visible!

Driven by Ideals

Anyone who wishes to rule,
Has to learn to manipulate,
Bend people to achieve his goals,
Make them listen to what he says!

The motivation that people need,
Is best achieved by pandering,
To their fears and baser needs,
But packaged as loftier things!

Nothing works like carrot and stick,
Our basic nature hasn't changed,
What  changes are stated ideals,
The motives need good packaging!

Single minded pursuits are good,
Forsake all for power and  profit,
But since that is not very noble,
You need Vision Mission statements!

The horse that is drawing the cart,
Needs to feel it is important,
While it tugs and heaves and gives its all,
The leader plays patriotic songs!

Vicarious Living

Unchecked euphoria one day,
Sunk in the depths of gloom the next,
What's it about the game of cricket,
That swings us from one to the other?

Only a few countries play it,
A few more have heard about it,
A win, and we are world beaters,
A loss is blow to self esteem!

Any victory we appropriate,
Nobel, cricket to gold medal,
What is it that makes us claim credit,
For something we didn't help create?

A person with few things to show,
As victory against his name,
Will always seek to bolster his pride,
By claiming others' as his own!

A nation that is so obsessed,
Shows a deficiency within,
Very little to celebrate,
Always looking for silver linings!

It's time we got busy doing,
What we expect our heroes to do,
Put in our best in everything,
And, individually, excel!

A victory should be par for the course,
Any defeat a stepping stone,
It's time we stopped looking to others,
And claimed victory for our own!

Please let them be!

They first came for the sick,
Then targeted the weak,
Then all us healthy ones,
Finally, they will target the kids!

Please! Just let them be,
They don't need your poisons,
They who cannot consent,
Don't feed them your noxious potions!

Please! Just let them be,
We grown-ups have destroyed the world,
They are healthy, were born that way,
Please please please, leave them alone!


 with location  tracking,
 with vaccine mandates,
 with authoritarian regimes, 
And quarantines,
with a scared populace, 

The world is a prison,
Each guards the other,
A morbid suspicion,
Against every brother,

Big brother gives you a bracelet,
To wear everywhere you go,
Embedded with several chips,
For whatever he wants to know!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Covid in Dharavi

An article on Dharavi, the largest slum in Bombay, probably in Asia, says that only eleven percent of people  there have been vaccinated so far.

Nine lakh people compressed inside three square kilometres. Where social distancing is impossible and people  practically live on each other's toes.

What they will never say is that the fatality rate in Dharavi is extremely low. And it will continue to be so, whatever number of variants may emerge.

Add to it the fact that they lead normal lives , not like many of us cloistered at home, panicked in the mind, forever fearing for us and everyone around us, exchanging notes on how little we have stepped out and how tight our masks are, and the irony is complete. We think we are doing it to protect ourselves when the only protection is in following the example of Dharavi, and making sure we get exposed to everything out there.

Those  are two worlds out there. The Dharavi world is far more vibrant, and way more healthy.

Friday, August 20, 2021

On Investment Options

People frequently confuse Asset Classes, Vehicles for Investment, and modes of investing , for  example I have heard questions like

"Should I invest in Equity, Mutual Fund, or SIP? " when you can actually do all three at the same time! 

What follows may be elementary to most, but it may need reiteration for some. 

You should  keep the following distinctions in mind: 

Asset Classes: equity, debt, Real Estate, Gold

Investing through ( vehicle for investment) : direct, or through MF

If Gold: physical gold biscuits, ETF's ( which is an MF) ,  Sovereign Gold Bonds

If Real Estate: Direct or through MF 
If Real Estate MF: InVit, or any other

If debt: direct ( bank FD, direct corporate FD, VPF, PPF, any other instrument... Or through MF)

If debt MF: 
Duration of underlying Paper:  short to long

Credit Risk: Zero to High

Quick pointers:

Investing in FD's is usually tax inefficient. For debt , investing through MF's is better

Debt MF's investing in long term paper carry interest rate risk 

Gold Ornaments don't count as investment.

The era of Real Estate as a preferred  Asset Class is over. 

The era of high interest rates are over. 

Low inflation is only on paper. 

You will see your lifestyle costs going up in the next few years, along with drop in real wages. We are going the way of the west, which generally means we are going to get screwed. 

Diversify, but not too much

It is a field that is complex, most times  needlessly so, and  In case you don't wish to spend time understanding it, consult an expert.

Beware of experts in any field. Most of them know very little, and they mostly work to maximise their gain, not yours

Derivatives, Currencies, Futures, Options, Cryptos, Commodities are not investment. Unless you are an expert, stay away. If you are an expert, beware. Many a strong swimmer has been swept away by the current.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Legal Luminary turns fifty

One is of tennis fame,
One is a software czar,
She shares her birthday,
With a few lesser mortals!

One said he never inhaled,
And he liked to give the suck,
A high position he held,
But he's not a patch on her!

A real luminary,
Who holds her own where she goes,
In a ring full of men,
She's scored many a K.O!

Knockout not just in a fight,
She can kill with her look(s),
Many a  heart took flight,
And went aflutter!

When God made her he said,
She will be one of a kind,
Sent her down and broke the mould,
And here we are, fifty years hence!

We wish her fifty more to come,
Of glorious sunrise years,
For the sun never sets,
Where she is around!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


We are all secure,.
In our sinecures,
And cosseted lifestyles,

We cannot even hope,
To understand,
The desperation,

Of a life uprooted,
By a change of circumstance,

A country taken over,
By forces of chaos,
Thrown back to mediaeval times,

Murder, pillage, rape and loot,
Divine right of warlords,
Going back to ancient times,

We are lucky to have lived,
In our little sinecures,

Counting our wealth and indulging,
In our little pastimes,

We cannot even hope to understand,
How worlds can get uprooted,
By forces beyond our control,

And how the little things we take,
For granted,
Now are so important,

The world was never a safe place,
It is all an illusion,

We spun ourselves into our cocoons,
And fed our delusions,

It's when the fabric tears apart,
That the threads start unraveling,

The tapestry of which we are a part,
Is our place, our time, our good fortune!

Saturday, August 14, 2021


Not Done is the best way to be,
Always with something to do,
If all I've to do is complete,
I will feel strangely empty!

Don't ever rush to do things,
For the list is never ending,
Good to have the same thing on your plate,
To satisfy those who are asking!

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Subbu of Barings

Long, longer, longest,
Both the name and the quals,
He got his Barings right,
VC in Angel form !

Legendary fellow,
Made millions for people,
And then wisely withdrew,
Before the shit hit the ceiling!

Now he roams around the world,
Weddings and temple tours,
Still has his gentle smile,
As if he wouldn't hurt a fly!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Acting on Stock Recommendations

Stock recommendations are big business. And they are a big addictive pastime. Everyone is always eager to know the "latest stock tip" – nothing wrong with this, it is human nature to want to hear the latest gossip and sundry assorted information of a risqué nature. Stocks may not fit the classical definition of risqué but if you think about it, money is as much of a turn-on as sex is, if not more.


The thing about recommending stocks is, there is an underlying base of theory and knowledge which you need to know, but you never know which pieces of that knowledge are relevant at any point in time. Should I look at growth? Or value? Or momentum? At macro factors, industry factors, or company factors? At long-term or short-term? At buy-and-hold strategies, or quick turnover? How long is long term? Define quick?


So, everyone develops their own theories of stock picking. And they come up with different and varying recommendations. Gather a few people tracking stocks in a room and ask them for their top three picks. It is unlikely that you will find any matches. In case there is an almost uniform consensus that a certain stock is good, then that is precisely the stock one must avoid.


And, everyone will tell you when to buy. Very few people will tell you when to sell.


Also, most stock picking services "include" a particular stock into their buy list, and it stays there till "exit" is announced. AT any point in time there may be fifty stocks in the buy list, all included at various points in time. But this does not help the buyer. As a buyer, at this point in time, I have x amount of money, and I want to deploy it. In which stocks should I deploy it? That is what I am most bothered about. Looking at a list of stocks which have been recommended at various points in time, at various (lower) prices, and looking at how the prices have run up now, and looking at a list of fifty options, is hardly conducive to decision making.


So any stock picking advice needs to be specific. Ideally, if I could predict the future, I would recommend just that one stock that will go up in the next one week. But alas, that is not possible. Or, I could recommend a basket of fifty stocks, and ask you to spread your investment – however, the more one expands the list, the more one is reverting to the mean. Reversion to the mean is not the objective here, the objective is to beat the mean by a wide margin.


The objective is also to have an absolute return that is acceptable. It is not of great comfort to me, when I have suffered a twenty percent loss, to be told that I am doing well since the index has in the same period gone down by thirty percent.


Also, there has to be a commitment from the one who recommends the stocks to also trigger off a sell call.


In my fortnightly stock advisory, I try to be specific, and actionable. Typically, I recommend a list of ten or twelve stocks, with a box for entering how much money you want to invest. The model then throws up precise recommendations of how much to buy, and of which stock. I also track all my buy recommendations and advise when to sell. Between "buy" and "sell" there are periods of "hold" when a stock is not a buy, but not a sell either.


Whether I am doing well or not, only time will tell. A few months is a very short time to judge, but I seem to have started on the right note, with quite a few wins. Once a couple of years passes, and we know how much money we made (or lost) , we can pass judgement.


It is not just about the money. The money is simply a yardstick. The excitement of the game, and outsmarting the market is the real motivator.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Ghalib for today's times

Ghalib, seeing what is happening in the past one year, might say: 

साल भर लोग यही भूल करते रहे
कमज़ोरी अपने आप मे  थी और वो  लोगों से भागते रहे

-  - - 

लोग-ए-नादाँ तुम्हे हुआ क्या है?
आख़िर इस डर की दवा क्या है?

-  - - 

मैं भी मूंह में मास्क ढकता  हूँ
काश पूछो कि मुद्दा क्या है?

- - - 

Maut ka ek din moiyyan hai,

Toh neend kyu raat bhar nahi aati

( This one is as is, no modification )

-  -  -

Kaid se khugar hua insaan to mit jata hai kaid,

Kaidkhana mein itna raha  ki aasan ho gaya.

- - -

Humko ma'aloom hai social distancing ki haqeeqat lekin,

Dil ke khush rakhne ko, 'Ghalib' ye khayaal achcha hai.

- - - 

With apologies to Ghalib who may be turning in his grave 😎

( Posted to my blog:

Monday, July 12, 2021


News item today: Zomato is readying for its IPO, at a valuation that exceeds that of all the listed hotel companies taken together!

Beauty lies solely  in the eye,
Of the stricken beholders,
Lining up, drooling, to buy,
Inflated pieces of paper!

It has already changed hands,
At dubious values in the past,
Getting pumped up each time,
To values, till then, unheard of!

The company excels at burning,
Whatever the investors put,
Seeing the smoke from the chimney,
Makes more of them come hurrying!

Not an asset to its name,
A few youngsters in a garage,
Have soon managed to overtake,
Those who've been around for years!

Each one aims to dominate,
The world as viewed from their prism,
Doing whatever it takes,
To spend their money to success!

What happened to values like thrift,
And patient accumulation?
How long before you deserve it,
Does fortune visit you out of turn?

What happened to values of prudence,
And not throwing money away,
These VC's scatter it in the wind,
Hoping that some of it will land!

What happens to all that I can see,
Brick and mortar  built on sand,
That now shifts beneath their feet,
Will it all come crashing down?

A new world order will rise,
From the rubble of the old,
The rulers of today will die,
And upstarts will storm the hold!

Their turn in turn will come in time,
To go under the wheel of fortune,
Which will crush them as it grinds,
Its way relentlessly on!

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Profiting from Unease

Health for all is never the goal,
There is no money in wellness,
If health and happiness became  real,
T'would be death to many a business!

The death dealers band together,
Promise to give us a better life,
We queue up to buy their poisons,
In panic, and pathetic hope!

Leading ourselves  from pillar to post,
In a state of dread and vain hope,
In abject surrender fearing more,
We pleadingly dance to their script!

The music is orchestrated,
To keep increasing the tempo,
Till we completely lose ourselves,
Into the script written by them!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021


They who rush to play victim,
And decry their plight in life,
Are not truly as they seem,
'Tis just a game, that's Trump!

The Devil changes clothes,
Oppressor to oppressed,
Cries murder most foul,
Though he's wielding the knife!

Disconcert the enemy,
Use their goodness against them,
They who show some pity,
Have it turned against them!

They who would impose laws,
That are the most unjust,
Are first to cry for justice,
Equality, and fair trial!

They who rush to convert,
To their only True Faith,
Are first to rail and rant,
That no one can convert from theirs!

Those who are not  secure,
In their own Faith and God,
Are ones who need to gather,
More to praise and exalt theirs!

They who rush to play victim,
Are often the ones who do wrong,
For it's often the Janus,
Who is also Judas!

Friday, July 2, 2021


The swamp was a putrid mess,
Of entitled detritus,
From long  privileges held,
And stuck, firmly ensconced!

A broom was needed to sweep,
The Augean stables clean,
It needed someone to wield,
In face of indignant protests!

Every age has a Messiah,
Come forth for Deliverance,
The Old gives way to the New,
Only by wreaking damage!

Nothing fades without a noise,
Silently into obscurity,
The shrieks of the dying echo,
For long after they have been killed!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Musings on Stock Investment - Part 1: Abhimanyu and the Chakravyuh

When I was in Fidelity, a Gujarati stock trader who was a big guy in the Finance Industry - I forget his name -  was invited by the company to give a talk.  I will never forget one analogy that he drew,


We all know the story of Abhimanyu and the Chakravyuh. Abhinmanyu was taught the secret of entering the Chakravyuh when he was in his mother's womb, by his uncle Krishna. At a crucial juncture in the War, Drona arranged his army in this formation. The only three people who knew how to enter this formation were Arjuna, Krishna, and Abhimanyu. Now, Arjuna and Krishna also know how to extricate themselves once they entered it, Abhimanyu did not. Krishna and Arjuna, as it happened, were away in another section of the battlefield and would be unable to help.


So, the uncles ask Abhimanyu, a mere kid in age though not in prowess, to enter the formation. Abhimanyu demurs, saying he does not know how to get out once he is in. All the uncles assure him that they will be just behind him, and help him to get out.


We know how the rest of the story pans out. The uncles who are close behind, are stopped by Jayadratha, and Abhimanyu perishes fighting a glorious battle.


The stock market is also like that. Everyone will tell you when to buy, but no one will alert you when it is time to sell. Once you enter the Chakravyuh, you are left to fend for yourself!


While we recommend stocks for buying, we also intend to keep a close eye and indicate when it is time to sell. That is a process that is easier said than done, for there is no answer to the question 'when is the right time to sell?'.


There are many theories for that. At one extreme is the opportunistic approach of the person who has a typical trader mentality. The moment the price rises a little bit, he wants to sell. 10 percent up, sell part of holding! Another 10 percent up, sell the whole thing! What this person may be missing out on, is on the phenomenal rise later on, the initial twenty percent may just be an appetiser.


Then there is the Warren Buffett school which says, even if the stock market is shut for the next five years, and there are no daily quotes, it does not matter, since I do not intend to sell, for say 10 years, or sell never.  Now Buffett and his partner Munger are both in their nineties, Bhishma Pitamahas, Maharathis who can fight better than people half their age. They have spent the last seventy years, only studying and thinking and living and breathing Stocks. And just like Bhishma when he was a teenager learnt from Vashishta and Parashurama, Buffett had the advantage of directly learning from Benjamin Graham. The point I am trying to make is, hearing what Buffett says is one thing – and there are several books on Buffett Sayings – but actually implementing it is another thing altogether.


There is also the fact that the market dynamics keep changing, and what was a good philosophy for the last decade may not be applicable any more in the new world.


For example, most stocks today don't do well at all, and are at best middling in their returns, but a few, a very very rare few, shoot up, up, up and away.   Just see the tech behemoths in the US, with market-caps in excess of a trillion dollars, and check out their prices, say, seven or ten years back. We are taking of returns in excess of 1000 times!


Take this story of Goldman Sachs who bought a 30% stake in Alibaba in 1999 for 3 million dollars. They were offered 50% stake for 5 million but refused, and invested 3 million instead for the 30%. They sold in 2004 for 22 million.  How lovely, they would have thought, and smiled to themselves.  If they had held on, their stake would be worth 200 billion dollars, that is 2 lakh million dollars today. From 3 to 2 lakh in 22 years – that is about 65,000 times, or 65 lakh percent.  Winner takes all!


When we look at stocks, and try to decide on when to sell, the following considerations are all relevant:


1.     Try to identify companies with potential for extreme growth. Now, being value investors at heart, we are always tempted to buy it at the right "value" as well. Whether the 'value' parameters are relevant or not we do not know, but it is difficult to let go of them. Graham was a total 'value' kind of investor, following what is called the cigar-butt approach to investing, but Buffett went beyond that and tried to identify companies that had potential for strong growth, i.e. companies with 'moats'.  Hence the Coca Cola type of scrip, and also insurance companies which threw up cash, and railroads when they were at a low – all this propelled Berkshire Hathway to where it is today. But even Buffett missed out on the tech boom – he has made amends in the recent past, and it may be a bit late, but it shows that the two Pitamahas are still not too old to learn.

2.     Now, we do not know which companies of the ones we have shortlisted for their 'extreme growth potential' will do well. A couple of them may. The rest may die a gory death. But, let us look at it this way. The downside is capped, at 100 percent of our investment. The upside is almost infinite, like the story of Alibaba illustrated. So, if we invest in ten such companies and even if one of them does spectacularly well, we will be fine. For such stocks, never sell, hold for the long term.

3.     Buy companies with a "moat", which is Buffett's preferred strategy, and hold them for the Long Term. These will always be expensive, at any point in time, but like Buffett says, it is better to buy a great company at a good price, than a (merely) good company cheap. For such stocks, never sell, hold for the long term.

4.     Indulge in value buying, if you feel that the stock is unnecessarily beaten down, and will definitely correct to its "average" levels. For such stocks, sell when the "valuation" goes much above the average. Do not hasten to sell, for you may never know if the market is going to take it up still higher – perhaps, a trailing stop-loss is the answer in such a situation, like it happened with us in the case of Ion Exchange. We had recommended it at 700 levels in September 2020, but it rose to 1600 levels by end May, and then shot up in one day by twenty more percent hitting the circuit, and is currently at 2100 levels. We have put that on a trailing stop loss.

5.     The mistakes: Huhtamaki PPL which we kept recommending, never went up, and finally dropped more than ten percent below our average purchase price. We recommended booking a loss.

6.     For cyclical stocks, rather than 'analyse' them based on the usual parameters, it is probably better to have a floor price below which you will buy and a ceiling price above which you will sell.



These are some of the considerations that I keep thinking about when we buy stocks, and think about when is the right time to sell. I am not comfortable with the Coffee Can philosophy of buy, hold and forget for ten years; but I am not comfortable with the 'quick turnaround' philosophy either.  And, just because I have listed some considerations for buying and selling, does not mean that I will be able to consistently follow them. The stock market tests all your theories, all your models, and all your resolutions, constantly shakes your self-belief and makes you doubt yourself. Having said that, I do have a process, which I keep honing all the time, and I shall hopefully be able to stick to it and make us some meaningful money.


Friday, June 11, 2021

A personal finance manifesto

What is the objective of investing in shares? Or, for that matter, any asset?

The objective, IMHO, is to reach a place where it is no longer necessary to work for a  living. Let us define that a bit further. 

The best definition of wealth is: Wealth is the number of days (or years) you can live on your current Assets, if you stop working.

In case you can stop working right now and continue to live the rest of your life in comfort from the income that your assets generate, that is true wealth.

For someone, that number may be just 2 crores, for someone it may be 20.

"Income" in this case is not the accounting definition of income, it includes income, capital appreciation, and dividends of all kinds that your assets generate.

This beats other definitions of wealth, since it excludes assets like your house, on which you are not generating any income. 

As someone who has subscribed to my stock newsletter, I am sure that is your objective too.  To make enough on stocks to grow your capital base, so that you can afford to stop working. Or, to put it differently, you need FU money; enough money so that you can tell your boss to go take a walk if he becomes too unreasonable.

So, how much is that?

Let us assume your monthly expenses are 1 lakh. You need to make enough from your assets to cover this one lakh and future inflation. Your 1 lakh of spend today, at 5 percent inflation, will become 2 lakhs, to maintain the same lifestyle, in 14 years. And 4 lakhs in 28 years. 

Let us call your monthly expense today as X. As a broad thumb-rule you need 400 times of X, excluding your primary house (the house in which you stay, since that does not generate any income, and nor is capital appreciation useful if you cannot sell it), in order to quit the rat race.  This does not include any expenses for children's higher education - if you dream of sending your children to Harvard for their undergrad studies, please budget for that separately. If your children, on the other hand, are not so smart as to get admission to Harvard or to aspire for it, thank your lucky stars.

That calculation obviously assumes a particular rate of inflation and a particular rate of return on your investments. If you assume an inflation of 5 percent per annum (let us keep that constant): 

If you assume a "return (net of tax)" on your investments of 6% (quite conservative), then your money will last for 42 years.

If you assume a return of 7% on your investments (net of tax), your money will last for 59 years. If you assume 8%, however, your money will last for ever and the corpus will keep growing! 

The first sheet in the attached spreadsheet is a "retirement calculator" - the whole spreadsheet, which has other things relating to personal finance apart from this calculator, is the outcome of the years of personal finance sessions which I used to conduct along with my good friend and erstwhile colleague at Fidelity, Srivatsa Rangaswamy. Play around with the numbers in the Retirement Calculator, and you will realise what a one percent differential in interest rates can do in the long term.

Personally, I would be ecstatic if I can maintain a 12% per annum return consistently over several years. Now, how to go about getting that kind of return?

First, minimise the tax outgo. Invest in debt mutual funds (growth option) rather then Bank FD's; invest in Real Estate; invest in shares, either directly or through Mutual Funds.

Second, invest for generating higher return.  What I am trying to do in my suggestions for stock investments is to generate at least 12 percent per annum, and targeting for 15 percent per annum.  That is the statement of intent. Whether it works out that way, only time will tell. So far, we have been doing well. I started this whole process somewhere around Diwali of 2020, and I started tracking it meticulously only from Feb 1st, 2021. From Feb 2021 till date, we have made nine recommendations and the performance has been as follows:

Which is not too bad. It is too early to say anything, we have to give it at least a couple of years, and a couple of market cycles, including downswings, before we can conclude for certain whether we are doing well.  But the start has been promising and gives me enough confidence that at least the process seems to have got something right.

Some of you have been on this list for a few months, and some of you are more recent subscribers. Hopefully, you have been following my recommendations so far, or investing in a few of those; I do hope you find it useful.

Just to summarise the purpose of this investment newsletter: 

We are aiming for a 15 percent per annum return, or at the least 12 percent per annum return, through investing judiciously in select stocks. 

I shall be sending out a recommendation once every fortnight. Any shares that have been recommended earlier but not figuring in the list are on "HOLD" , not "SELL".  I shall be alerting you when I think it is time to sell any particular scrip.

A note of caution and a disclaimer: Stock investment is an inherently risky game; do not put all your eggs in this basket. Also, spread out your investments, do not invest very big lump-sums at one go. 

Do write back to me at any time giving your thoughts, or feedback or suggestions. 

The spreadsheet is attached.

Happy Investing!

Dinesh Gopalan
mob: 9845257313; blog:

Monday, June 7, 2021


घर से बाहर निकल ने से डरते हैं,
खुली सांस भी नही लेते हैं,
हवा को दुश्मन मानते हैं,
और पड़ोसी को कीटाणु,

किसी को भीतर नहीं आने देते,
ना घर में ना दिल में,
घुटन से हर पल मरते हैं,
सांसों में और रिश्तों में,

टीके की उम्मीद रखते हैं,
कि उसके सहारे जी लेंगे,
लेकिन दुनिया में कीटाणु भरे पड़े हैं,
हर एक के लिए टीका नहीं है

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Exposure builds immunity

Immunology 101: exposure builds immunity. 

Continuous exposure in small doses is required for the body to develop resistance to New viruses 

When the baby is born, it picks up "germs" from the  mother's vaginal canal , a huge load of them which gives it a great start in life.  C Section babies are less immune and they start with a handicap in life.

Children need to play in the mud, eat some mud, and get dirty, to develop their immunity 

Everyone needs to drink the local water of the place they visit ( and not drmineralised, lifeless, germless  "mineral" water) in order to pick up the local germs for the body to be familiar with.

We, all of us, life long, need to be always "exposed" to all that is out there so that our bodies are constantly facing these gems, and developing their responses to it, storing all of that in the cells' memories.

We are doing the opposite. We are isolating, masking, and rubbing our hands with alcohol. We are running away from germs .

I am not talking of corona. In the name of escaping from the corona virus, we are doing all  that.

The prognosis is not good.

Wanting it All

The ironies of life are too immense,
To be a mere coincidence,
We humans have a natural talent,
For muddling up, not knowing our own minds!

To be or not to be is the question,
We would rather be, and not be, at once,
We want to have the cake and eat it too,
We lose both us and the cake in trying!

The journey is a road with many forks,
Each one branching out into many more,
We always regret and we look back,
Wishing we had taken the other one!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Into The Magic Shop by James R Doty : Book Review


Just read this book, Into the Magic Shop, by James R Doty, MD. It bills itself as a "Neurosurgeon's quest to discover the mysteries of the brain and the secrets of the heart."


A wonderful read – it has been a long time since I finished a book in a single sitting. It is much more than what it claims to be. It is a heart-warming story of success against all odds, about life's vicissitudes and about passion, to one's profession, and towards whatever one wants to manifest in one's life. But it also more than that.


The story is quite simple. Poor buy fights against all odds to reach success. Becomes a neurosurgeon. Becomes famous. Loses all his money in the crash. Then he picks up the pieces and builds his life again. Ends up as Director of CCARE – Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford, for which the Dalai Lama is the Chief Patron. So far, nothing very different from the usual heroic-achiever stories.


But it is different in the way he achieves his success. When he is a boy, he finds a teacher who teaches him the secrets of manifesting whatever he wants in his life, by desiring it deeply. It is the same trope of "the universe conspiring to give you what you want, if only you believe in it strongly enough", except that the path to achieving it, is set out in exceedingly simple terms.


His teacher starts first by teaching him how to relax. The technique is exactly the same as that used for Savasana in Hatha Yoga. Swamit Satyananda Saraswathi of the Bihar School of Yoga, while talking about meditation, spoke about how important it is to relax first. Most people fail to see this connection.


From relaxation, the teacher leads him on to techniques of concentration, which are very beautifully laid out – the book touches on the three most effective techniques for concentration (which leads to meditation)  - focusing on one's breath, staring at the flame of a candle, and chanting a mantra. It is all done in a natural way, like when you would explain to a twelve year old, for that is how old the author is when he is learning all this.


And then, it talks of visualization, and manifesting whatever you want in your life. The Dhammapada, in its first two verses, says "1. Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it. 2. Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves."  (The Dhammapada,  Eknath Eswaran's translation)


The teacher first teaches him to "open his heart" which is the seat of wisdom, and then the techniques to bring into his life all that he wants manifested.  The techniques are described in a very simple way, but it is one of the best manuals on meditation I have read, explained in a few, simple, concrete steps, devoid of all jargon.


The book is written in a very direct, simple style, and it manages to do what all good books do – put you in the shoes of the protagonist and make you look at life through his lens, and share in his journey.  All in all, a good read, short, sweet, and insightful.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

A Crossword Setter

Oh these convoluted fellows,
Never do they like to think straight,
With their crosswords and cryptic clues,
They will lead your thinking astray!

Anyone who solves those crosswords,
Is suspicious to the extreme,
With them, never you bandy words,
For they twist them and mangle them!

As to one who sets the damn things,
He is a certified crazy,
For you have to be insane,
To set those infernal things!

Beware, all you my countrymen,
Of all these crossword setters,
There is not one among them,
Who can ever be trusted!

Thursday, May 20, 2021

DT left

One fine day DT he left,
On a galactic journey,
He turned left and then left,
At the next turning!

Where he left to no one knows,
He left in the dark of night,
Was he right, too, no one knows,
For he left nothing behind!

They are still looking for him,
In every road and its tangent,
For no one can really say,
Where DT guess, or where he went!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Four Yogas

Offer your services to the world,
Expecting not any rewards,
Do not fall into inaction,
For therein lies the wrong path!

Immerse yourself in what you do,
You are no different from the Work,
In immersion lies Mastery,
It flows on its own, as it were!

Dedicate your work, all, to Him,
There is peace in the surrender,
Once you drop all expectations,
The world places itself at your feet!

Forever strive to distinguish,
The Transient from the Real,
The world attracts with lots of tinsel,
The Truth is hidden, plainly in sight!


Offer your services to the world,
Expecting not any rewards,
Do not fall into inaction,
For therein lies the wrong path!

Immerse yourself in what you do,
You are no different from the Work,
In immersion lies Mastery, 
It flows on its own, as it were!

Dedicate your work, all, to Him,
There is peace in the surrender,
Once you drop all expectations,
The world places itself at your feet!

Forever strive to distinguish,
The Transient from the Real,
The world attracts with lots of tinsel,
The Truth is hidden, plainly in sight!

*(The Bhagavad Gita talks about: 
Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga )

Monday, May 10, 2021

The covid panic continues

People are rushing helter skelter for vaccines. There is a shortage and many hospitals in Bangalore have suspended the vaccine program due to lack of stocks. Online slots for vaccines where available  are being cornered by techies since they are very good at the game of fastest finger first.

People are desperate. On meeting ( at a six feet distance) they ask "vaccine done?" and not "how are you?".  A burst of envy greets the other person if the reply is positive.

The fear is palpable. Everyone is trying to "be safe", and "being careful".
To the best of my knowledge that involves trying to run away or hide from something which will anyway get you.  Many people who have been "safe" have also got the virus. 

There are repeated exhortations to continue wearing the mask and maintain  distance even if one is vaccinated. Why this should be so, I can't figure out. I do get the standard explanation being trotted out  but that is not convincing.

It seems to me that whether you follow all precautions and take the vaccine, or you don't do any of those things, 
the chances of anything happening to you is about the same. Or , so marginally different, that it makes no difference.

But the cost of "taking precautions" is high. And it is  certain, a hundred percent probability of decline in immunity due to masking and distancing, due to shallow breathing, and lack of exposure.

 Life is anyway a probability game. There is no such thing called hundred percent. 

In such a situation, the most rational approach is to do nothing. No masks, no distancing, and no nothing.

Better to live every day and die once, than die  every single day.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

The Walking Quartet

There are many things to look forward to in Ferns, and one of them is
The Walking Quartet.

Without fail , from 4.45 to 6 pm, I used to see these four ladies... Walking at such a brisk pace that I would find it difficult to keep up.

Of late, I am not seeing all of them together, hopefully that should correct itself soon.

For there are certain things that you become so used to, you look forward to them.

-    -     -    -    -    -    -

Every day you see them,
The Quartet, without fail,
Walking in the evening,
At a frenetic pace!

Come rain, come shine, they walk,
Not a day they miss,
Overtake them you can't,
They have wings on their feet!

Everyday you see them,
In the evening at five,
Rushing to turn the corner,
There they go whizzing by!

Now you see them, now you don't,
By the time you turn around,
You've to be quick to catch them,
Unless you run, you can't!

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Nature will strike back

As people consume antibiotics, the "germs" develop resistance to them and become "superbugs".

The body has 100 trillion germs ( don't beat me up if it is a billion or two off, in case you happen to count). Of which ten percent is "us" and the balance is "outsiders".

If a lake is dirty due to stagnant water, and mosquitoes breed there, how will you clean the lake?

One approach is to pump the lake with poisons. The mosquitoes die, but the lake becomes more polluted as a result.  

The other approach is to let sunlight through, let the water flow, remove the weeds, in short let the lake's "prana" , the vital energy , flow.

Our body is that lake. Drugs, especially of the allopathic kind, are the poisons that we pump in. Antibiotics cause immense damage to the gut bacteria. It takes a couple of months to recover from a course of antibiotics. Vaccines are even  worse, they are a bunch of deadly chemicals. Steroids are very harmful too. At least these can be justified on the grounds of  "emergency" or "single use" , pay the price and recover later.

But what about lifelong drugs for lifestyle diseases, the blood thinners, the anti cholesterol medicines, the statins?  Rather than changing their lifestyle, people continue eating processed foods, ordering take-outs from restaurants ( which by definition is inferior), don't exercise... The list is long, and the effect on the health compounds over a period of time.

And then, when threatened with "germs" which by the way have always been there, and will continue to be there, they rush to pump further poisons into their bodies , and further weaken their immune systems!

By the way, those who think the vaccine is a one time solution are sadly mistaken. Each vaccine protects only against existing variants. The germs keep mutating, that is in their nature and it is   their dharma to mutate.

So the pharma companies will now  convince us that annual booster shots are required. It is not the "weakened virus" in the vaccine that one should be worried about, but the cocktail of deadly chemicals that it floats in.

The holy grail of the pharma industry is to make healthy people consume drugs, Including young people and children.

What is the point if only sick people take drugs? No profits to be made there.

And we are all willing participants, or should I say victims, in this deadly race to the bottom!

If we ignore the laws of Nature, Nature will strike back and we will pay a price.

We don't have to wait that long for nature to strike back, strike back it will.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Big G

Big G, like Big B,
Is legendary,
When comes the Big G,
It's incendiary!

Big G's like wrestling,
With stubborn pit bull,
She gets hold of you,
There's no letting go!

Big G is prepared,
Does her homework well,
No one ever dares,
To call her to account!

Big G likes to see,
Facts and data points,
She throws them at you,
You will likely drown!

Big G sparks the life,
Sometimes bit too much,
Chaps get electrified,
Not just singed, but burnt!

Big G likes to say,
It, the way it is,
Anybody disagrees,
Then they really face it!

Big G, makes music,
Big bass drums, a boom!
The word then goes out,
One-Man army has come!

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Coloured views

We see the world through glasses,
Of several different colours,
Worn each upon the other,
Through which the light passes!

The colours are of our choice,
Or collected over years,
Quite a set we amass,
As we get on in years!

And now the world I see,
Is quite different from yours,
I wonder why you don't see,
What to me is clear!

Friday, April 23, 2021

काश मेरा मन करता

काश मेरा मन करता,
किसीको जाकर गले लगा लूं,
लेकिन ये कम्बक्त करोना ने,
प्यार को बैन कर दिया है।

काश मेरा  मन करता,
मैं जीवन को जीकर देखूं,
लेकिन ये कम्बक्त करोना से,
हर दिन मर जाता हूं।

काश मेरा मन करता,
किसी की हसी देखूं,
लेकिन ये कम्बक्त करोना ने,
सब का चहरा ढक दिया है।

काश मेरा मन करता,
खुली हवा में घूम आऊं,
लेकिन ये कम्बक्त करोना ने,
मुझे कैद कर दिया है।

काश मेरा मन करता,
कि मुझमे साहस जागे,
हर नियम को मैं तोड़ दूं,
और जिंदगी पूरी तरह से जी लूं।

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Better by far, to live

Can't hug, can't kiss,
Can't meet, can't greet,
Can't pray, can't work,
Need to stay at home!

Can't smile, can't breathe,
Can't talk, can't sneeze,
Can't laugh, can't move,
The very air is death!

Am scared, I fear,
All things, far and near,
I hide, I quiver,
The world is menacing!

The fear, it gnaws,
Into my very vitals,
Its icy fingers pierce,
My very being!

I die, every minute,
Every hour, a thousand deaths,
I die, every day,
From morning, to night!

Better by far, to live,
Unfettered, free,
And die only once,
When the time is nigh!

The world of Valuations

A loss of 350 crores On Revenues of half a crore, gets a valuation of 15000 crores!

VC's are vying with each other to fund companies that have a high "burn" rate.

Here , take my money, burn it!

No, no, mine, burn mine first!

No, please, me! I am a marquee money burner, having us on board will get you more money to burn!

The promoter looks around with an appraising eye, and picks one of them.

And then goes to the pavement outside and starts distributing the money. Not just like that. He uses big data, analytics, cloud computing, IOT, neural networks, AI and ML to do so. It is considered very essential to be forward looking and use the latest technological advancements to give money away.

Meanwhile the world is roiled by unrest, jobs are being lost everywhere, and there is a pandemic cutting a swathe of destruction, not as much due to the disease itself, as due to the illogical reaction of people born out of fear.

The promoter uses the opportunity of turmoil in the world, to increase his burn rate. That keeps his investors happy. They are always pressurising the promoter to be more opportunistic and seize every available opportunity to burn more money.

The investors demand more! They always do, that is in their blood, so we shall excuse them for it. Our promoter is under pressure. So he announces a paise ka dahan on the lines of Holika Dahan, and makes a bonfire of money. Not literally of course, but he uses big data, AI and ML and all the rest, to give away 100 million dollars in one night.

The investors are happy.

Meanwhile, many investors who have missed the earlier round ( Round C) are suffering from a severe case of FOMO, and demand that they be allowed to give some money. The promoter reluctantly accedes to Round C.2 for 100 million dollars of opportunity. Why C point 2, and not Round D, you ask? Well, you see, the promoter is from the software industry, and he feels that unless there is a significant jump in the technology of burning money, the fundraising should not jump to the next alphabet. He reflects deeply and is forced to concede that unless he uses Robotics, which his team is working on, to give away money, he cannot in all conscience, call it Round D.

Meanwhile the promoter becomes a folk hero in his hometown, Bangalore. He is invited to seminars where they discuss how to burn more money. His story serves as inspiration to a group of young techies who go around with matches in one hand, and a business plan in the other, hoping to catch a VC in an elevator for thirty seconds, whom  they can unleash their "elevator pitch" on. It is of course well known in start-up circles that if you want to raise funds, you need to hang around elevators, waiting for VC's to walk in.

Once, Cred, Dunzo, and Nyka promoters meet in an elevator.

The Dunzo promoter says, I lose hundred rupees for every delivery I make. Beat that!

The Cred promoter says, I lose thousand rupees every second. Beat that, and gives a smirk.

The Nyka promoter, who is a lady, looks at them pityingly. I raised Series A to F, each time increasing my valuation. And now, I am going in for an IPO! BEAT THAT!

The other two promoters concede defeat. For the IPO is the holy grail. It is where millions of people queue up to give you money to burn, and your personal  stake gets valued at over a billion, and you get invited to give Ted Talks.

Friday, April 16, 2021

The Common Man

The common man always suffers,
From a whole bunch of delusions,
He thinks that he really matters,
It is for him that the world runs!

The world runs in order to serve him,
And ensure his health and welfare -
Man always loved his illusions,
Which the powerful feed and pander!

Bread, and Circuses, are needed,
Realised the Romans of old,
Add to that now constant feeding,
Through media, and, of course, Fear!

When man is not driven by greed,
To step out and attempt great deeds,
He is by his fear constrained,
To mask himself and shackle his feet!

These two emotions run his life,
And he runs himself ragged to death,
While the ones who cause the strife,
Pander to him, for gains immense!

The Common Man

The common man always suffers,
From a whole bunch of delusions,
He thinks that he really matters,
It is for him that the world runs!

The world runs in order to serve him,
And ensure his health and welfare - 
Man always loved his illusions,
Which the powerful feed and pander!

Bread, and Circuses, are needed,
Realised the Romans  of old,
Add to that now constant feeding,
Through media, and, of course, Fear!

When man is not driven by greed,
To step out and attempt great deeds,
He is by his fear constrained,
To mask himself and shackle his feet!

These two emotions run his life,
And he runs himself ragged to death,
While the ones who cause the strife,
Pander to him, for gains immense!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

My School Whatsapp Group

We all like to visit here,
It is our pet menagerie,
Where all kinds of animals reside,
Strutting their idiosyncracies!

There is the elephant who walks,
Of long memory, teller of tales,
There is the parrot who screeches,
Whenever anybody speeches*!

There is the baboon who screams,
Dekh loonga tum sub saalon ko,
There is the hippo whose skin is,
So thick it refuses to get poked!

There is flighty wafflebird,
Who always flies on a tangent,
There is the much feared lioness,
Who kills her prey with her arguments!

There is the cheeky rainbow bird,
Who pulls the rabbit out of a hat,
With colorful past and plumage,
Who holds the lioness in high esteem!

There is the sesquipedalian,
Walrus who holds long discourse,
What he says no one understands,
For he can be a tad verbose!

There's  the badger who's dug himself in,
In remote faraway fields,
Who likes to talk about politics,
When he is not busy farming!

There is a raucous nightingale,
Who fancies himself to be a bard,
There is a sluggish pompous whale,
Who is never amused, harrumphing!

The dormouse opens a single eye,
Keeping guard through his slumber,
The wolf peeks out from his lair,
To pounce when the time is right!

The frog patiently sits and  listens,
And asks questions of one and all,
The crane mostly sleeps but is waiting,
To swoop down and give battle!

The owl watches from his lofty perch,
Disdaining all the goings on,
The cricket just gives his commentary,
Doesn't miss anything at all!

The fox has donned a new avatar,
Goes around preaching to one and all,
The sloth listens to him and all agape,
While refusing to stir at all!

The bear sits on top of a rock,
With predictions of gloom and doom,
Counting numbers on his abacus,
For whoever cares to listen!

The elk retires to a corner,
With a rosary in his hand,
But butts in with an opinion,
When he can't bear what's going on!

The eagle watches from afar,
Missing nothing that's going on,
Every now and then he weighs in,
With his acerbic opinions!

That's just some of the denizens,
We meet them all when we come,
Always battling and making up,
Strutting and preening for no reason!